Molecular dynamics simulations of shock waves in oriented nitromethane single crystals

L He and TD Sewell and DL Thompson, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 134, 124506 (2011).

DOI: 10.1063/1.3561397

The structural relaxation of crystalline nitromethane initially at T = 200 K subjected to moderate (similar to 15 GPa) supported shocks on the (100), (010), and (001) crystal planes has been studied using microcanonical molecular dynamics with the nonreactive Sorescu-Rice- Thompson force field D. C. Sorescu, B. M. Rice, and D. L. Thompson, J. Phys. Chem. B 104, 8406 (2000). The responses to the shocks were determined by monitoring the mass density, the intermolecular, intramolecular, and total temperatures (average kinetic energies), the partitioning of total kinetic energy among Cartesian directions, the radial distribution functions for directions perpendicular to those of shock propagation, the mean-square displacements in directions perpendicular to those of shock propagation, and the time dependence of molecular rotational relaxation as a function of time. The results show that the mechanical response of crystalline nitromethane strongly depends on the orientation of the shock wave. Shocks propagating along 100 and 001 result in translational disordering in some crystal planes but not in others, a phenomenon that we refer to as plane- specific disordering; whereas for 010 the shock-induced stresses are relieved by a complicated structural rearrangement that leads to a paracrystalline structure. The plane-specific translational disordering is more complete by the end of the simulations (similar to 6 ps) for shock propagation along 001 than along 100. Transient excitation of the intermolecular degrees of freedom occurs in the immediate vicinity of the shock front for all three orientations; the effect is most pronounced for the 010 shock. In all three cases excitation of molecular vibrations occurs more slowly than the intermolecular excitation. The intermolecular and intramolecular temperatures are nearly equal by the end of the simulations, with 400-500 K of net shock heating. Results for two-dimensional mean-square molecular center-of- mass displacements, calculated as a function of time since shock wave passage in planes perpendicular to the direction of shock propagation, show that the molecular translational mobility in the picoseconds following shock wave passage is greatest for 001 and least for the 010 case. In all cases the root-mean-square center-of-mass displacement is small compared to the molecular diameter of nitromethane on the time scale of the simulations. The calculated time scales for the approach to thermal equilibrium are generally consistent with the predictions of a recent theoretical analysis due to Hooper J. Chem. Phys. 132, 014507 (2010). (C) 2011 American Institute of Physics. doi:10.1063/1.3561397

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